Hey, I’ve got your Blog Bag answers, as promised. Only four questions this week, but all are very good ones. Even gonna talk a little hoopage. Enjoy.
Q: Brad, do you think redshirt freshman linebacker Benardrick McKinney will be a first-round draft choice by the end of his career?
A: Boy, the early returns sure are good. McKinney is tall and rangy, and the comparisons to K.J. Wright are spot on. You’ve seen him get better and better as the year’s gone on, and the stats bear that out. McKinney is tied for the team lead in tackles with 59, and 42 of those have come in SEC games. He also has 3.5 tackles-for-loss, two pass break-ups and got his first career sack last week.
So yeah, based on what I’ve seen so far, I believe McKinney has that potential, but that’s a long way off.
Q: Is a win over a less ranked (but seven-point favorite) Texas A&M a “signature win?”
A: Good question. A&M is actually higher ranked in the AP poll, although MSU is a spot ahead in the BCS rankings. I suppose it depends on how you define a signature win. Beating Alabama last week certainly would’ve been one. Beating LSU next week would qualify, too. Not sure about A&M, since it’s A) a new SEC member, B) not a traditional power, and C) a home game.
It sure as heck is a huge game in the context of this season, though. Winning tomorrow could give MSU the inside track on at least a Cotton Bowl bid.
Q: I haven’t seen much comment on the fair catch interference call (and subsequent unsportsmanlike penalty) in the Alabama game. There used to be the old halo rule and the TV commentators mentioned a 1-yard rule, but I thought those rules were done away with. I can’t recall seeing a penalty called when the receiver actually catches the ball. I have seen it called when the receiver muffs the catch. What is the actual rule and was that Dan Mullen‘s argument?
A: For those who don’t know, this question is in reference to a punt fielded by Alabama’s Cyrus Jones in the first quarter. I believe it was Dee Arrington who got too close to Jones, drawing a 15-yard penalty. Mullen argued vociferously, and he drew a 15-yard flag, too.
Arrington violated the halo rule, which was re-instituted this season and requires that the receiving player be given a 1-yard buffer zone to make the catch. The only thing I can figure is Mullen was arguing that Arrington had given Jones a full yard; it was hard to tell from the press box, and I tried to watch it again on the ESPN3.com replay, but my Internet provider (Comcast) is lousy.
Q: Read earlier this week that Tennessee and Georgia Tech recently held a “secret” scrimmage. The NCAA allows these but no one from the outside is allowed to watch nor can they discuss the stats or even the final score. Rumor is UT manhandled Georgia Tech, though. Do you know if State has held one of these or if they will?
A: MSU had such a scrimmage on Sunday at UAB. There is actually some confusion about whether coaches or other school personnel can publicly comment on these scrimmages, so just to be safe, MSU is keeping mum.